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Fan Letters: Views on Sunderland’s start to the season, Parky’s tactics & Greenwood’s hat-trick

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In today’s fan letters, RR readers share their views on where our performances have been lacking so far this season, and another bemoans the fact we’ve let talented youngsters go for peanuts. Let us know your thoughts: RokerReport@Yahoo.co.uk!

Sunderland v Peterborough United - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

A win and three points.

Of course, it’s about winning football matches but we have to play for 90 minutes and not just 45 again. Never mind a game of two halves, we’re a team of two halves.

The end of the transfer window is approaching and we haven’t even used the loan system yet. We must inject some pace and introduce a set play quality midfielder into the team.

Our play on Saturday was unbelievably slow – if Parky can’t see this he is a poor coach. We will not get promoted playing like this.

After Maguire had left the field, Sunderland’s set pieces were shocking. This has to be addressed. We need a quality ball player.

The persistence of playing Wyke baffled me again. I cannot see how Parky can justify his inclusion – he is not scoring, and his creativity is nil. According to the press at the start of the season we had interest in Wyke – it’s time for Parky to ship him out. He has had his chance.

Jack Diamond must be given an opportunity. He has the experience of last year at Harrogate behind him, and Graham and him could just click.

The upcoming few weeks on the recruitment side are going to be crucial. We have to get it right, for once. In the past, the likes of Sterling and Semenyo etc were not successful.

The Covid situation, of course, is affecting all lower level sides including Sunderland with the financial situation, but surely we can pick some bargains up out there with free agents and loan players.

We have to get out of League One this year. Of course, we have no god-given right to do this, but the next few weeks are going to be crucial.

The management team has to step up to the plate. We need to inject some pace into the team to give us another option tactically, especially against teams who park the bus.

I guarantee with our current tactics we will not get promotion. The time has to come get recruitment right and win while hopefully playing some watchable football to get the fans smiling during these unprecedented times.

Take care everyone and hoping promotion comes the club’s way. We need it.

Mark Wild

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Our football’s a hard watch at times, and I completely agree we need some pace in the squad. Parkinson’s got a reputation of playing attritional football, rather than exciting football, though – and I suspect any tactical changes will be minor.

To give him his due, defensively we look very solid – we’ve played four teams this season, three of whom (Hull, Oxford and Peterborough) are expected to be in the top six, and not conceded, although to be fair I’m still not too sure how we didn’t concede on Saturday.

We need to sort out our selection up front. I’m in complete agreement when it comes to Wyke – he’s just not doing the job we need and after two years of enduring his poor performances we have to say enough is enough. Hopefully the loan market will be used successfully in the next few weeks, given younger players don’t count towards the salary cap anyway it’s an avenue that needs exploring.

Still, 7 points out of 9 is a good start on paper, and hopefully with a couple of additions, and one or two of the strikers finding some form, we’ll have a good season. As you said, when it comes to promotion, we need it to be this season.

Sunderland v Peterborough United - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Hi all,

I’d just like to know if anyone is also concerned about our lack of chances we create and lack of movement up front to create their own chances?

League One now knows our set up and line up every week, whereas it seems Parky knows nothing else than one system and one team line up.

The goalkeeper is worse than the previous one due to our lack of ability to keep him – Jon saved us at least 15 points, without which we would, in effect, finish mid table.

Our forward position will not change – if Wyke’s fit he plays. He will not get the goals to promote us – his thought process is not there: just run around and regularly check his hair is still in place ( anyone else noticed that?).

He can’t even hold the ball up when launched up to him, which is often our style.

If anyone thought that win against Posh was well deserved they are deluded. They outplayed us first half, hit the bar and had one cleared off the line in the second half.

I must admit I have seen improvements in some players. To date, I have slated Hume and Flanagan. Maybe their improved performance was due to Power and Dobson being out of the side? Both are not good enough.

Our crossing from both wings is abysmal, but a centre forward who can’t read the flight of the ball and can’t get off the ground makes the poor crosses a centre half’s dream.

It’s a shame Parky only realises after 75 minutes each game, giving the replacement no time to warm his boots up.

Sorry if this seems like a repeat of my last few moans but it seems like our business is done and we are now stuck with this team for the time being. I believe we will be at least 10 points behind the top two before long – too many to claw back.

Top two is my only desire for my beloved team since the 70s, but I fear after watching last three I can see the inevitable.

Jeff Angus

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for the letter Jeff, and I share your concern over the striking positions. Given in the first three games we’ve seen Grigg, Graham and Wyke start one game each, it’s clear Parkinson does too. Personally I believe we should be doing everything we can to get Grigg in the team and scoring – while I know he’s been a failure so far his track record is far better than others, and he was far better than others in pre-season.

It’s interesting with Parkinson’s team selection and structure because while he’s always been a manager who prefers a settled XI, he’s never played with a back three with any regularity until he came here – which shows flexibility in thinking to some extent.

The team is finding its feet after a strange pre-season and six months without football, and I think we need to give them some time to settle.

I think you’re being a bit harsh overall though, Jeff! Good teams are built from the back – look at Reidy’s approach in his early days here – and now we have the defence sorted (bar the keeper, who I share doubts over) Parkinson will hopefully work on tweaking our approach going forward.

While we don’t know where Oxford and Peterborough will finish, they are expected to be up there, so six points from those two games is a good return. Performances haven’t been great, although the second half of the Bristol and Oxford games showed promise.

Keep the faith. Without that we don’t have much!

Sunderland v Peterborough United - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I know it’s irrelevant, but I am furious with the sweet FA, EFL and the rest to allow any football club to pinch a young player from another club for peanuts so they say that they can develop him further then, after less than a year, sell him for £3m. A very nice profit and, to rub salt into the wounds, he comes back with his new club and scores a hat trick. DISGUSTED.

Anthony Degiovanni

Ed’s Note [Martin]: I was equal parts disappointed and frustrated when I saw Greenwood had scored a hat-trick for Leeds under-23s against us this week Anthony, as you evidently are, too. While you can blame the authorities, the clubs – in this case Arsenal – are using the system and doing good business.

The blame lies at the feet of all involved in SAFC. We’ve seen a load of players depart the academy for peanuts under Donald’s reign, and while there’s truth in the fact that if the player wants to go there’s not too much we can do to stop them, it’s been clear from reports on message boards from those close to the players that SAFC didn’t do much, if anything, to prevent them leaving. We should have made them feel as if they were best off signing pro terms here – offering them pro terms would have been a start – and outlining their pathways into the first team. Instead, we seemed to say ‘thank you very much’ to whatever was on the table.

For a talented youngster, SAFC should be a fantastic place to play right now – great facilities and a clear chance to progress to the first team.

But it’s clearly not. And we’ve been left in a position of scrapping around to try to put a under-23 team together from other clubs’ cast-offs.

Since relegation the club’s operated with a short term mentality, and that’s come from the top. If the owners had any interest in building a long-term, sustainable football club, the progression of the younger players into the first team would have been a priority. It wasn’t, and we’ve paid the price.

I’d advise you get ready for more fury over the years Anthony, because we’re going to see more and more of these players we let go come back and haunt us. For starters, Hugill and Pye, two other youngsters we sold for peanuts, started for Manchester United under-21s last night in the EFL Trophy – Hugill scoring the winning penalty in the shootout. There’s almost a whole team that we’ve sold off, and we’re going to pay for it for years.